David, Davies.  University of Alabama.  Downloaded from the Google cache 13 September 2002 from site http://www.ccom.ua.edu/MC102/suppaptips.html

 

Tips on AP style

By David Davies




Abbreviations


1.1 Spell out, do not abbreviate, names of organizations, firms, agencies, universities and colleges, groups, clubs or governmental bodies the first time the name is used. (i.e., on first reference)

1.2 But abbreviate such names on second reference, as here:
. . . . . First ref: Civil Aeronautics Board
. . . . . Second ref: the board.
. . . . . First ref: National Organization for Women
. . . . . Second ref: NOW

1.3 DO NOT use an abbreviation or acronym in parentheses after the first reference of a full name. Wrong: The Radical Underwater First United Sailors (RUFUS) meets tonight. Right: The Radical Underwater First United Sailors meets tonight.

1.4 Don't use unfamiliar acronyms. Wrong: RUFUS was formed in 1923.

1.5 In street addresses abbreviate these:
. . . . . Street . . . . . . . . . . . .St. . . . . . .1234 Goober St.
. . . . . Avenue . . . . . . . . . . . .Ave. . . . .-3506 Loblolly Ave.
. . . . . Boulevard . . . . . . . .-Blvd. . . . .80 Crabtree Blvd.
. . . . . BUT, the words road, alley, circle, drive, etc. are never abbreviated.

1.6 However, when a street name is used without a specific address, spell out and capitalize street, avenue and boulevard:
. . . . . He lives on Goober Street. My cat has a litter box on Loblolly Avenue. My favorite polka band plays gin rummy on Crabtree Boulevard.

1.7 Abbreviate points on the compass in specific street addresses:
. . . . . 1813 S. High St. 600 W. Cooke St.
. . . . . BUT, in general references where no street number is used, spell out the compass point:
. . . . . We saw two inebriated men on South High Street.
. . . . . The pigeons on West Morse Road are always hungry.
. . . . . BUT, don't capitalize or abbreviate points of the compass used to indicate direction:
. . . . . Snow fell south of the campus. He lived north of the railroad tracks.

1.8 Names of states are abbreviated when used with a community name.
. . . . . Memphis, Tenn. is a lovely town. So is Lima, Kan.

1.9 DO NOT abbreviate the names of the states of Ohio, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Texas and Utah. (Memory aid: Don't abbreviate names of states with five letters or fewer or which are not part of the continental United States.)

1.10 Don't abbreviate the months of March, April, May, June and July at any time. Other months are abbreviated ONLY when they are used with a specific date:
. . . . . Oct. 21, 1979, but October 1979. Sept. 25, but September weather.

1.11 Do not abbreviate days of the week, given names, parts of city names or city names.

1.12 Abbreviate and capitalize titles before names:
. . . . . Ms. Sen. Rep. Gov. Lt. Gov. Sgt. Gen. Dr. etc.
. . . . . Gov. Voinovich denies that he pinched Lt. Gov. Lucy Arnaz.
. . . . . NEVER abbreviate president, either before or after a name:
. . . . . President Reagan paused to change his grandson's diaper.


Capitalization


2.1 Capitalize names of holidays, historic events, church feast days, special events, etc., but not seasons:
. . . . . Mother's Day Labor Day Orientation Week fall storm
. . . . . autumn leaves winter tomatoes spring break

2.2 DO NOT capitalize points of the compass in usages like these:
. . . . . an east wind southern Arkansas
. . . . . western Canada southeast Forrest County
. . . . . BUT DO CAPITALIZE points of the compass when part of the name of a recognized geographic area:
. . . . . Southern California Midwest the South the West Coast
. . . . .
2.3 Capitalize the proper names of nationalities, peoples, races, and tribes:
. . . . . Indian Arab Caucasian Afro-American Hispanic
. . . . .
2.4 Capitalize and place quotation marks around the names of books, plays, poems, songs, lectures or speech titles, hymns, movies, TV programs, etc., when the full name is used.
. . . . . "The Simpsons" "The Catcher in the Rye" "Arsenic and Old Lace"
. . . . . "Star Wars" "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds".
. . . . .
2.5 Capitalize the names of newspapers and magazines, but do not enclose the titles in quotation marks. Capitalize the word the only if it is part of the newspaper's proper name. And don't capitalize the word magazine unless it's part of the magazine's formal title:
. . . . . Washington Post The New York Times USA Today Ms. magazine
. . . . . Time magazine
. . . . .
2.6 Don't capitalize occupational descriptions or false titles before a name:
. . . . . actor Kevin Kostner author James Baldwin feminist Mary Smith
. . . . .
2.7 Capitalize the names of universities and colleges and the names of colleges and schools in a university:
. . . . . Ohio State University School of Journalism Kalamazoo College
. . . . . BUT DO NOT capitalize the names of academic and administrative units within colleges and universities except where a word would ordinarily be capitalized:
. . . . . department of journalism department of English American studies
. . . . .
2.8 Names of campus buildings and other public buildings are capitalized:
. . . . . the Federal Building, the Widener Library, Administration Building . . . . .
. . . . .


Numbers


3.1 As a general rule, spell out both cardinal and ordinal numbers from one through nine. Use Arabic figures for 10 and above.
. . . . . first day, one woman, 10 days, 21st year, nine years, 50 more
. . . . .
3.2 Use commas in numbers with four or more digits, EXCEPT IN YEARS AND STREET ADDRESSES:
. . . . . 1,500 eggplants, the year 1984, 23,879 students, 7034 Aunt Bea St.
. . . . .
3.3 The words billion and million may be used with round numbers:
. . . . . 3 million miles $3 million 10 billion years $10 billion
. . . . .
3.4 Numbers over a million may be rounded off and expressed this way, including sums of money:
. . . . . 2.75 million rather than 2,752,123.
. . . . . About $2.35 million rather than $2,349,999.

3.5 Arabic figures are used for street addresses, ages, dimensions, speeds, temperatures, weights, percentages, time, scores of sports events, sums of money:
. . . . . 9 Brooklyn Ave . . . . . Al Greene, 4, will be ... . . . . . . . . . . a 4-year-old boy
. . . . . 5 feet by 2 feet . . . . . 7-foot, 3-inch center . . . . . . . . . . 2 mph
. . . . . 8 degrees . . . . . 5 percent . . . . . . . . . . 8 a.m.
. . . . . $1 . . . . . Michigan 50, Ohio State 3 . . . . . 5 cents
. . . . .
3.6 When a number is used at the beginning of a sentence, spell it out. Do not use an Arabic figure to start a sentence:
. . . . . Seventy-six trombones led the parade.
. . . . . Ten thousand people crammed into my apartment.
. . . . . BUT it is permissible to begin a sentence with a date:
. . . . . 1972 was a good year for cantaloupes.
. . . . .
3.7 In newswriting, do not use signs or symbols for these: cents, degrees, inches, feet, number and percent. Always spell these out. The only exception is the dollar sign.
. . . . . 5 feet 2 inches 1.6 percent 32 degrees 10 cents
. . . . . BUT it's $50.
. . . . .
3.8: Dates are written as Arabic figures:
. . . . . July 4, 1776 Nov. 11, 1918
. . . . .
3.9 Plural dates are written as Arabic figures with a lower-case s. Do not use an apostrophe except as in the following uses:
. . . . . the 1960s the 1970s the 60s the 70s.
. . . . .


Punctuation


4.1 A colon is used in clock time.
. . . . . 8:15 a.m. 9:15 p.m. 10 a.m. (not 10:00 a.m.)
. . . . .
4.2 General rules for the hyphen: (See hyphen entry in punctuation section at the back of the stylebook for complete guidelines.)
. . . . . The hyphen is used in phrasal adjectives:
. . . . . a 7-year-old boy an off-the-cuff opinion a little-known man
. . . . . But the hyphen is not used in sequences in which the adverb has an -ly suffix:
. . . . . a gravely ill patient a relatively weird student
. . . . . In combinations of a number plus a noun of measurement, use a hyphen:
. . . . . a 3-inch bug a 6-foot man a two-man team
. . . . . A hyphen is always used with the prefix -ex, as in:
. . . . . ex-president ex-chairman
. . . . .
4.3 The comma is omitted before Roman numerals and before Jr. and Sr. in names:
. . . . . Adlai Stevenson III John Elliot Jr.
. . . . .
4.4: Periods are used in certain abbreviations and after points of the compass in street addresses:
. . . . . U.S. the U.S. marshal
. . . . . U.N. a U.N. delegate
. . . . . 5 a.m. 16 E. Wabash Ave.
. . . . . However, in most other instances, abbreviations in the form of initials do not take periods:
. . . . . ROTC, USS Iowa, GOP, NBC OSU, ACLU, AP, UPI, EDT, NOW, NAACP, NASA
. . . . .
4.5 Note that in direct quotation, periods and commas are always placed inside the closing quotation marks:
. . . . . "I'm buying a doormat," Vandross said.
. . . . .
4.6 Avoid the use of quotation marks with slang expressions or single words where meaning is clear:
. . . . . WRONG: He called the youth a "hippie."
. . . . . RIGHT: He called the youth a hippie.
. . . . .
4.7 In a series, omit the final comma before and and or:
. . . . . red, white and blue
. . . . . no money, no influence and no votes.
. . . . .
4.8 Use quotation marks to set off nicknames:
. . . . . W.C. "Pug" Pearson Richard "Lightnin' Rod" Jones
. . . . .
4.9 Do not underline in news copy. Instead use quotation marks to set off titles.
. . . . .


Names and titles


5.1 Generally, identify people in the news by their first name, middle initial and last name:
. . . . . David R. Smoots Fred L. Rogers
. . . . .
5.2 Use full identification in first reference, but in second reference, use last name only:
. . . . . Richard Cooper (first reference) Cooper (second reference)
. . . . . Angeline Smoots (first reference) Smoots (second reference)
. . . . .
5.3 While proper titles are capitalized and abbreviated when placed before a person's name (except for the word president), titles that follow a person's name are generally spelled out and not capitalized.
. . . . . Voinovich, governor of Ohio Pitts, a state representative
. . . . . Wallbanger, director of the Goofus League

5.4 Do not use courtesy titles . .Mr., Mrs., Miss, etc. . .unless not using them would cause confusion. (For example, you might want to use them when both members of a married couple are quoted in a news article.)
. . . . .


Time


6.1 Time in newspaper usage is always a.m. or p.m. Don't use tonight with p.m. or this morning with a.m., because it is redundant. Don't use the terms yesterday and tomorrow to describe when an event occurred. It is OK, however, to say today.
. . . . .
6.2 In describing when an event happens, use the day of the week if the event occurs in the last week or the next week. BUT, use the calendar date if the event is longer than a week ago or farther than a week off.
. . . . .
6.3 Generally, it's more readable to put the time, then the date, when an event will occur:
. . . . . RIGHT: The train arrives at 3 p.m. Jan. 3. WRONG: The train arrives on Jan. 3 at 3 p.m.
. . . . .
6.4 Never put both the day of the week and the date that an event will occur:
. . . . . RIGHT: The fireman's ball will be held Jan. 3. WRONG: The fireman's ball will be held Monday, Jan. 3.
. . . . .
6.5 CORRECT: It's 7 p.m. INCORRECT: It's 7:00 p.m.